This is the closest we can get to the original performance, it was fresh in the minds of all the performers and was not like any other record ever made afterwards, enjoy this most unique recording and historic audio document.
Digital recording from Victor Talking Machine disc made at Menlo Park.
To find out more visit Menlo Park
June 1, 2012 Subject:
Original still the best.
I've owned a copy of this since the late 70's. In my humble opinion, it chronicles the journey of Jakob Gershvitz from the tenements of the Lower East Side and Tin Pan Alley to 5th Avenue and Carnegie Hall. Five stars doesn't even begin to cover it!
Great performance but it's a bit too hissy for me.
October 1, 2009 Subject:
Electric recordings and microphones...
To slightly correct Mr. Stockwell--it was the electric RECORDING process that was developed in the early nineteen-twenties but used very little until both Victor and Columbia started using it in 1925! Microphones (of sorts) appeared much earlier--they were basically telephone transnmitters (carbon mikes) in their earliest years of use. In fact, radiotelephony required a microphone to pick up the sound for broadcast!
Oh, and BTW--Victor recordings were NOT cut at Menlo Park--that was Thomas Edison's facility! Victor had recording studios in Camden, NJ, and in New York City as well!
August 23, 2008 Subject:
1927 recording can be heard at:
until someone takes it down, anyway. This 1924 recording is fantastic! Tempos are faster than most do, nowadays, but not as fast as Gershwin's piano roll. I absolutely love all the character that the Whiteman players put into the piece.
March 9, 2007 Subject:
this version is the best text, even with cuts
Lyle Skinner was a pianist for Paul Whitman for about 20 years, then he taught at Waco High and Baylor in texas. He was my father's teacher, mentor, and musical companion in my dads' youth.
They cut a huge stack of 78's together in the back of the music shop. The version of rhapsody that my father kept was cut in the late 50's by the 'berlin philharmonic' and the cues are closer to this primary version than any other i'd heard, though the orchestration is contemporary. I have an old worn piece of vinyl, this has the soul to it. Nobody can get this piece just right.
March 7, 2006 Subject:
That's Gershwin at the keyboard, by the way . . .
This, like Part 1 of this recording, is an edited performance, with cuts made to fit the 15-minute work onto two 78-RPM discs. Total time is under 9 minutes, but the cuts are pretty smart ones. This work was originally written for a large dance band, the way you hear it here. This isn't "Symphonic Jazz." It's authentic 1920's style - completely different from the bloated "violins and cellos" versions that we're used to hearing. You can hear the banjos in this version. Gershwin plays the piano part and the performance is fast fast fast. The opening clarinet glissando wails and breaks off into reedy laughter. This is SO different from the the syrupy swooning you now hear. The sound isn't spectacular - the microphone wasn't invented until the next year, 1925 - but these 78s are still pretty well transfered. The recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" was a hit. In 1927 the same group - again with Gershwin but now with a microphone - made another recording. Paul Whiteman had a quarrel of some sort and walked out of the recording session. They recorded anyway, with another conductor - Nathaniel Shilkret, I think - taking over. Whiteman was happy to promote the recording as his own, nonetheless. The electric version is better recorded but it lacks, well, electricity. Everyone, including Gershwin, just punches it harder in 1924.